How Much Income Can I Make on Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. While this program is vital for those in need, many recipients often wonder how much income they can make while receiving disability benefits. In this article, we will explore the income limits for SSDI and answer some frequently asked questions related to this topic.
1. What is the income limit for SSDI?
The income limit for SSDI is based on the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In 2021, the SGA limit is $1,310 per month for individuals with disabilities and $2,190 for individuals who are blind.
2. Can I work part-time and still receive SSDI benefits?
Yes, you can work part-time and still receive SSDI benefits. However, your earnings should not exceed the SGA limit mentioned above. If your income surpasses this limit, you may be considered able to engage in substantial gainful activity and your benefits may be reduced or discontinued.
3. Is there a trial work period for SSDI recipients?
Yes, SSDI recipients are eligible for a trial work period (TWP) during which they can test their ability to work while still receiving full benefits. In 2021, any month in which your earnings exceed $940 counts as a trial work month. You can have up to nine trial work months within a rolling 60-month period.
4. Can I earn more than the SGA limit during the TWP?
Yes, during the TWP, you can earn more than the SGA limit without jeopardizing your benefits. This provides an opportunity for individuals to gradually return to work and become financially self-sufficient.
5. What happens after the TWP ends?
Once you have completed the TWP, you enter the extended period of eligibility (EPE) which lasts for 36 consecutive months. During the EPE, you will continue to receive SSDI benefits for any month your earnings fall below the SGA limit.
6. Are there any work incentives for SSDI recipients?
Yes, the SSA provides several work incentives to encourage SSDI recipients to explore employment opportunities. These incentives include the continuation of Medicare or Medicaid coverage and the ability to deduct certain work-related expenses.
7. Can I receive SSDI benefits if I am self-employed?
Yes, self-employed individuals can receive SSDI benefits as long as their earnings do not exceed the SGA limit. The SSA evaluates their work activity and income to determine eligibility.
8. What happens if my income fluctuates?
The SSA considers average monthly earnings when evaluating your eligibility for SSDI. If your income fluctuates, they may use a “countable income” calculation to determine whether you meet the SGA limit.
9. Are there any income exclusions for SSDI recipients?
Yes, the SSA excludes certain types of income when determining your eligibility. These include income from supportive services, impairment-related work expenses, and certain benefits provided by vocational rehabilitation programs.
10. Can I receive both SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Yes, it is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI benefits. However, the income and asset limits for SSI are different from those of SSDI. Therefore, working and earning income may affect your SSI benefits.
11. How does working affect my SSDI benefits?
Working while receiving SSDI benefits can have an impact on the amount you receive. If your earnings exceed the SGA limit, your benefits may be reduced or discontinued. However, the SSA provides several work incentives to mitigate this effect.
12. Can I consult with a professional to understand my specific situation?
Absolutely! If you have specific questions or concerns about how your income may affect your SSDI benefits, it is advisable to consult with a disability attorney or a Social Security advocate who can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice.
In conclusion, while receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, you can work part-time, subject to the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit. The trial work period (TWP) allows you to test your ability to work without losing benefits, and work incentives are available to support your transition back into the workforce. Understanding the income limits and guidelines will help you make informed decisions about your financial situation while on SSDI.